updated 09:55 am EDT, Thu June 25, 2009
Windows 7 Pricing
Microsoft this morning outlined its final pricing for Windows 7. Extending an olive branch to Windows XP owners refusing to upgrade to Vista, the company says it's allowing both these and Vista owners to pay $120 to upgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium, $200 to move to Windows 7 Professional, and $220 for Windows 7 Ultimate. Full, non-OEM copies will cost $200, $300 and $320 respectively.
To offset reluctance from early buyers, however, Microsoft also says it plans to offer large discounts for pre-orders. A limited early program will price upgrade versions of Home Premium and Professional at $49 and $99 respectively. Additionally, large PC manufacturers like Dell and HP are planning free Windows 7 upgrades, in many cases beginning today, that will give buyers of new Vista PCs a copy of the newer operating system when it ships October 22nd.
Costs for other Home Basic and Starter, which are targeted at the developing world and netbooks, aren't yet public. Unlike Apple, Microsoft also has no multi-user license for home and makes buyers purchase individual copies, though the company is reportedly considering a solution to the problem.
The pricing of Windows 7 is particularly vital for Microsoft, which suffered a rare revenue decline in early 2009 owing both to economic troubles and active resistance to Windows Vista. Most businesses still avoid the 2007 releases due to app incompatibilities or concerns about sluggish performance on existing systems. A smaller portion of home users have also resisted Vista, but nearly all netbooks have had to run XP due to Vista's excessive performance demands and have cost Microsoft money as it dumps the price on XP to keep Linux out of the field. Windows 7 can run on these systems regardless of version and should boost the prices of netbooks by $20 or more, helping Microsoft's bottom line.
The Windows developer is also facing indirect pressure from Apple, which undermined Windows 7 by pricing an upgrade-only copy of Snow Leopard at $29; the impact is largely symbolic given the inability for non-Mac owners to upgrade but will potentially lead to a greater percentage of Mac users running the latest software than Windows customers. An upgraded version of the Mac Box Set with Snow Leopard, iLife and iWork will still cost less than the full retail price of Windows 7 Home Premium.